The Millers | a very personal DIYOctober 2013

Any home renovation project (DIY or otherwise) needs to start with a clear set of objectives.  My husband Ryan and I were very clear about ours:

  • We know our current home is not our "forever" home.  We chose to do key renovations that we felt would ensure we received the best return on investment when we eventually sell our home.
  • Scope is important: we knew our budget plus we wanted to be able to do the work ourselves.
  • And then there is reality: we have pets; we love large family dinners; and Ryan and I  work well together on home projects.

Armed with the above, we started - and completed in February 2014 - our personal DIY adventure!

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#1 - The Beginning #2 - Wasted Space
Our aim was to rework the wasted space taken up by the long hallway, and the no-man's land in front of the fireplace. We wanted to add space for family dinners and a powder room. The space at the top of the cabinets is underutilized and not functional. This space typically collects little-used objects, which can create a cluttered look.
#3 - Torn Apart #4 - Brick by Brick
Day-to-day living during a renovation can be a challenge to say the least! Part of the strategy is to pre-plan where everyday items are going to be placed on a temporary basis for easy access. Opening up the living space included dismantling the corner wrap-around fireplace. Our used bricks found new life as a chimney in the home of a friend (re-use and recyle wherever possible!)
#5 - Opening Up #6 - Pet Care
Starting to take shape! Open floorplan, modified fireplace (no more raised hearth), and new scratch-resistent laminate floors ready to be installed. Keep in mind that pets are affected by the noise, dust and disruption of home renovations. Lucy's looking a little unsure of things at this stage...
#7 - Plumbing Glitch #8 - All fixed!
Removing the dishwasher exposed a pipe that stuck out 9" from the wall. A relatively minor adjustment in time, cost and effort (including jackhammering by yours truly) resolved the problem. After repositioning the pipe, we had a smooth wall to put the fridge. (If a fridge is left standing on its own and not embedded in the bank of cabinets, it visually creates an unattractive "wall.")
#9 - Beautiful Island #10 - At 90% Complete
Dinners with family and friends are a regular happening in our house. Our island is specifically designed to hold 6-8 comfortably. Chairs are upholstered in easy-care fabric; foot rungs allow for a relaxed leg rest while seated. New kitchen, with great pull-out drawer storage, well-positioned fridge, pet-friendly flooring, and stone fireplace ready for its new mantel. For ROI reasons, we didn't choose 'soft-close' drawers.
#11 - Kitchen Close Up #12 - Fireplace Close Up
The many new features include over-the-stove microwave, expanded countertop, and increased storage capacities. Now if I could only decide on the cabinet pulls and knobs! We love this beautiful grey stonework and the dark tile floor-level hearth. The finishing touch will be the mantel.
#13 - Comfortable Hardware #14 - Powder Room Sink
For the kitchen cabinetry hardware, we chose a chunkier pull that is comfortable for Ryan's larger hand. The size plus the brushed nickel finish helps to break up the expanse of white. A nice surpirse: I found this affordable sink at Canadian Tire and then made it special by choosing new pulls on the cabinetry.